Over the weekend on Saturday, I awoke before dawn, ignored the cat, got dressed, and quietly left the house to head to the retreat center where I would meet a group of Mennonites. The pastor had asked me to speak with them for twenty minutes about the Quaker model of decision-making prior to the group's delving into larger questions that they themselves face.
Here's what I feel good about:
This last point caught me off-guard, since I wasn't sure if this was an item I should lift up... but there it was, coming out of my mouth. I saw a few head-nods among the group, including from the pastors, so I take that as a good sign.
I had already described the theological foundation of our business practice, that there is one Light that can be known directly by each of us, and therefore we, as Friends, seek and listen for God together. But I had a feeling that there was more to the Mennonite tradition that could inform their own move away from a Roberts Rules of Order voting model, and I wanted to encourage them to learn about their own history and practice.
Later I would find out that this particular group of Mennonites, at least, has many members who hail from different faith traditions and that the Mennonites historically were "highly schismatic." ...Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
Here's what I don't feel so good about:
All that said, would I do it again? Absolutely!
I felt well-used and appreciated; I felt like I was faithful.
Later this week, one of the pastors and I will get together to reflect on the experience. By that time, he will have heard a bit from the congregation about their own take on how things went.
The interesting thing is, there are now four of us from the worship group who have direct connections to this particular Mennonite congregation: two of us have done presentations with them; and two others (a couple) had worshiped there for about a year before discovering the worship group. (They happened to have been at the retreat as well, given their earlier commitment to attend.)
Not to mention that where the worship group meets and where the Mennonite's church building is are within blocks of each other. ...I wonder what else God may have in store for all of us...